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SEIU Targeting Two GOP Senators With Ads

The Service Employees International Union is on television in New Hampshire and Oregon, targeting two vulnerable Republican Senators who are hoping to win another term in November.

The SEIU has vowed to spend around $75 million collectively to influence Congressional races this fall, and has opened the spigot with a $600,000 TV ad buy targeting Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) and a $500,000 ad buy going after Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.).

In New Hampshire, the SEIU is airing a 30-second statewide spot that blames Sununu for what it deems to be the rising cost of health care. This spot is running on broadcast and cable networks.

In Oregon, the SEIU is on television in the Portland and Eugene media markets with a 30-second spot that attempts to tie Smith to President Bush and the oil industry. That ad is also running on broadcast and cable.

“What’s Gordon Smith been up to?” the ad’s voice-over says. “He hasn’t been helping Oregon families deal with the high cost of gas or health care. But he has made time to help George Bush by voting for billions in tax breaks for oil companies.”

The New Hampshire ad sounds a similar note.

“From the mom who can’t afford her child’s checkup, to the senior who can’t pay for prescriptions, New Hampshire families are struggling,” the spot’s voice-over says. “And Sen. John Sununu is making things worse.”

Sununu is being challenged by former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D), whom he defeated in 2002. Smith is running against state Speaker Jeff Merkley (D). Republicans dismissed the SEIU’s attacks and predicted they would fail to sway voters.

“This is another hyper-partisan ad paid for by out-of-state money to prop up Merkley’s campaign and distort Gordon Smith’s record,” Smith campaign spokeswoman Lindsay Gilbride said.

Rebecca Fisher, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, added that “labor bosses” are essentially trying to buy a Senate majority that will do their bidding. Fisher said the SEIU’s New Hampshire ad campaign is a part of that effort.

“They are spending millions on behalf of obedient Democrat candidates,” Fisher said. “But voters in New Hampshire will see through this come November and reject Jeanne Shaheen.”

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